Emerging smart home tools allow people to unlock their doors, use cameras to monitor rooms and turn lights on or off. But these technologies are often connected over Wi-Fi networks, which can easily be penetrated by hackers. Nebraska computer scientist Qiben Yan is trying to make these devices more secure by using communications with ultrasonic frequencies.
Yan’s team has developed a transmitter-receiver prototype that directs ultrasonic frequency from point-to-point. The signal is directional and unable to pass through walls, making it more containable and safer against attacks.
An improved transducer uses graphene as a membrane, helping relay a higher frequency with a faster speed.
Casual web browsing would still use Wi-Fi, but sensitive information could be passed with ultrasound. Yan’s THINK Lab is working to increase the device’s range, currently limited to 10 meters.